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A curated weekday guide to major national security news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
JAN. 6 ATTACK
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack will meet today for its final public meeting before it officially dissolves. The committee plans to discuss its eight-chapter report, recapping some of its previously revealed findings and exploring new evidence gathered since its most recent hearing in October. The committee is also expected to conclude its investigation with a vote on whether to adopt the report and the recommendations for criminal referrals within it. Zach Montague reports for the New York Times.
Today’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. EST. Live coverage is provided by the January 6th Committee Media Center.
The trial of five Proud Boys members for their role in the Jan. 6 attack begins with jury selection today. The five defendants are charged with sedition, which carries a 20-year maximum sentence. During the trial prosecutors will try to prove the defendants plotted in advance of Jan. 6 to use force to oppose the authority of the U.S. government or to interfere with the execution of federal laws – in this case, those that govern the transfer of presidential power. Alan Feuer reports for the New York Times.
A man already facing charges of assaulting a police officer during the Jan. 6 attack was charged on Friday with plotting to assassinate several of the federal agents who had investigated him. The plot by Edward Kelley was foiled this week by a witness who cooperated with the authorities and recorded him and a co-conspirator, Austin Carter. Kelley and Carter were charged with conspiracy, retaliating against a federal official, interstate communication of a threat and solicitation to commit a crime of violence. Both men were denied bail. Alan Feuer reports for the New York Times.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
Elon Musk said he would step down as Twitter’s CEO if the results of a Twitter poll go against him. Musk tweeted a poll yesterday evening asking people to vote on whether he should step down as Twitter’s CEO. Musk said he would abide by the poll’s results. As of this morning around 58% have voted for Musk to step down. David Goldman reports for CNN.
The Transport Security Administration intercepted a record number of guns at airport security checkpoints this year, the agency said on Friday. 6,301 guns were stopped from passing beyond security checkpoints – more than 88 percent of which were loaded. In response to this, the agency has decided to increase the maximum fine for firearm violations by nearly $1,000 to $14,950. Eduardo Medina reports for the New York Times.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – FIGHTING
Russia launched another round of drone attacks on Kyiv and other cities. The Ukrainian Air Force said that it had shot down 20 of 35 drones that Russia launched, though those that evaded air defenses had hit power plants, electrical systems, and other civilian targets. Andrew E. Kramer reports for the New York Times.
A rocket strike killed at least one person in Russia’s Belgorod region near Ukraine, local officials said. The rocket was intercepted by Russian air defenses, but falling debris killed one resident and injured eight others, according to the region’s governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov. Alan Cullison and Yaroslav Trofimov report for the Wall Street Journal.
A senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned yesterday that Russia is planning a new onslaught in Ukraine, including mass infantry attacks. Russia has already drafted and is training soldiers who might be deployed in such attacks, Mykhailo Podolyak said. Podolyak’s comments come as Ukraine’s top military and political leaders have been warning in a series of recent interviews that Russia is massing troops and armaments to launch a renewed ground offensive by spring that very likely would include a second attempt to seize Kyiv. Andrew E. Kramer reports for the New York Times.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko in Belarus today. The rare visit by Putin comes amid mounting pressure on Lukashenko to expand support for Russia’s war. Whilst the two leaders have met at least six times since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, none of these meetings have taken place in Belarus. Andrew Higgins reports for the New York Times.
Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was recently exchanged in a prisoner swap with U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner, visited the illegally occupied city of Luhansk on Saturday. Bout attended an opening event for the Luhansk branch of the pro-Kremlin Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR). Last week, Bout told Russia’s state-controlled news outlet RT that he “wholeheartedly” supports Moscow’s so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine. Mariya Knight reports for CNN.
Putin made a visit to a command post coordinating the Russian war effort in Ukraine. In a rare demonstration of hands-on involvement in the military campaign’s execution and planning, Putin spent the day on Friday presiding over a general meeting with Russia’s top military officers. He also held separate meetings with various commanders, according to a statement by the Kremlin. Ivan Nechepurenko reports for the New York Times.
Qatar warned yesterday that the E.U.’s handling of a corruption investigation allegedly involving the country threatens to “negatively affect” security cooperation and energy talks between the bloc and the Gulf state. The investigation centers on allegations that Qatar and Morocco sought to bribe E.U. legislators to influence policy. The Qatari government has denied being involved and has heavily criticized the E.U.’s decision to suspend legislative work related to Qatar but not Morocco, saying it has been singled out. Javier Espinoza, Henry Foy and Simeon Kerr report for the Financial Times.
Israel deported a Palestinian lawyer and activist to France, claiming he has ties to a banned militant group. The deportation of Salah Hammouri was condemned by the French Foreign Ministry. According to a statement by the ministry after Hammouri’s arrival in Paris, it has “taken full action, including at the highest level of the State, to ensure that Mr. Salah Hamouri’s rights are respected, that he benefits from all legal remedies and that he can lead a normal life in Jerusalem, where he was born, resides and wishes to live.” AP reports.
The leader of Tunisia’s opposition alliance called for President Kais Saied to step down yesterday after low voter turnout in parliamentary elections this weekend. As polls closed on Saturday night, only 8.8% of eligible voters had participated, according to the government. The majority of candidates who ran in the elections don’t have a political background and are largely unknown, as Saied’s electoral law bars them from running under a political party affiliation, and most opposition parties have chosen to boycott the election. The low turnout suggests many Tunisians have given up hopes for a real democracy. Chao Deng reports for the Wall Street Journal.
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has been re-elected as leader of the governing African National Congress (A.N.C.). Ramaphosa defeated his rival Zweli Mkhize by 2,476 votes to 1,897 despite being dogged by allegations of money laundering. His victory puts him in pole position to lead the A.N.C. in the 2024 election. Farouk Chothia reports for BBC News.
North Korea tested a pair of ballistic missiles capable of striking Japan on Sunday. The launches came after Tokyo adopted a new security strategy to push for more offensive footing against North Korea and China. Japan and South Korea separately criticized the attacks. AP reports.
The U.K.’s policy to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda was deemed lawful by the country’s High Court. However, although the judges dismissed the challenges against the policy as a whole, they found the government had acted wrongly in the individual cases of eight asylum seekers set to be moved under the scheme. Rob Picheta and Sharon Braithwaite report for CNN.
COVID-19 has infected over 99.892 million people and has now killed over 1.09 million people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been over 653.185 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 6.66 million deaths. Sergio Hernandez, Sean O’Key, Amanda Watts, Byron Manley and Henrik Pettersson report for CNN.
A map and analysis of all confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. is available at the New York Times.
U.S. and worldwide maps tracking the spread of the pandemic are available at the Washington Post.